Tag Archives: kids


Econ 102

A tip? OK. Don’t swim in shark infested waters. Dad humor 1 – Confused daughter 0


Econ 101

Today’s lesson: the fungibility of money.

Place Generic Title Here

I’ve often remarked on these pages that a good title will write a good blog.  The both of you, my loyal readers, know this to be true.  The rest of you who swing through to gaze upon the wreckage like so many standers-by drawn to a train crash will also note the lack of many decent titles.

Tonight I want to write.

I want to write for the joy of writing.

I just finished watching a movie.  It was a silly flick starring Kevin James.  In it he plays a writer.  Actually he plays an actuary who is also working on a novel.  I mention that because my late father was an actuary.

A note about that…  Growing up, none of us knew how to answer the question our friends would inevitably ask.  “What does your dad do?”  I remember asking the old man once.  I think I was six.  “Daddy, what do you do?”  Reaching deep into his brain he quickly shot back, without raising his eyes from behind the Wall Street Journal, “Well son, an actuary is the man who brings a bomb on a plane.  Because while the chances of there being one bomb on a plane are negligible, the probability of there being two bombs on a plane are infinitesimal.”

A few years later I had cause to ask him again.  I believe I was 11.  “Dad, what’s an actuary?”  Releasing a puff of smoke from the pipe clenched between his teeth he said: “Well my boy, an actuary is place where they bury dead actors.

Finally when I was sixteen I asked yet again.  “Father, what exactly is an actuary?”  Putting the remote down for a brief moment while switching between Jeopardy! and Crossfire he rejoined: “An actuary, lad, is the guy who uses the last urinal in the men’s room because he knows it cuts in half the statistical likelihood of getting his shoes pissed on.”

And I finally understood.

I went back to all my friends and said: “He does something with math.”

In the movie, James’ character, working on a novel, remarks that he writes to escape life.

Not me.  I write to document life.  I sometimes feel as though if I didn’t write down some of the crazy things that have happened to me no one, not even I, would believe them.  So what crazy things have happened to me lately?

I went out to visit the school where I am soon to begin work as an assistant principal.  I met with my spine surgeon and discovered that I’m in pretty amazing shape.  My kids appeared in a couple of short plays at their music school.

None of these things are amazing by themselves.  Take the job, for instance.  Lots of people start new jobs and lots of people work in school administration.  But standing in my new office the other day looking around, being called into meetings with the principal to decide important matters…  A few short months ago I really would not have believed this is where I’d be.  In the back of my mind I had a goal that had almost vanished.  I wanted to be an administrator before I hit 40.  Here I am.  I still can’t believe it.

So I’m cheating. This spine is strong because it’s been fused.

Sitting in the office with the doctor today and looking at the CT scan of my spine all brightly lit up from the contrasting dye I was convinced he was going to tell me I had some kind of condition, maybe even a spinal tumor.  Instead he said: “Both fusion are holding great and the disc height at the level above is incredible.  Your spine is strong.”  He even tossed in “In fact, you’re looking really good.  What are you doing?”  Hear that?  My spine is strong!  And I’m looking good.  Must be doing something decent.

That’s my girl playing the empress (she of the “new clothes”)

OK, with those two plays…  Nothing really remarkable here except that my babies are growing up.  There was a time not long ago when I would hold them and read to them and take care of them.  Now they’re entertaining me.  They’re memorizing lines, looking so grown-up in character on a stage.  How did that happen?

So the title of this post is so generic I didn’t even have to write it.

Nothing amazing happening here except life.

And life is pretty damn awesome.

Time With the Kittens

I have come to hate cats.  So I’m not sure why I call my kids “kittens”.

Tonight after my third parish meeting in as many days I headed home.  As I got in the car I texted my wife.  “Kids all done with their activities?” I asked.  In my absence my wife was going to do their Lenten Scripture reading and start the rosary with them.

I was asking because I really wanted some “Daddy time” with them.  I was hoping they were all finished.

They’re growing up so fast.  I’ve been trying to limit my evening events so that I can spend more time with them.  Things were simpler a few years ago when my school day ended earlier.  They were younger and the afternoon time seemed more meaningful.  Now it feels like they’re busier than me some days.  Piano, gymnastics, basketball…  I wanted to just sit down and watch something on TV with them tonight.

Alas, they had not prayed their rosary.  So we got to do that.  Then my wife had a night-time business call to which she had to attend.  And I got my “Daddy time” in the form of putting them to bed.

I fell asleep for an hour in my son’s bed.

I want quality here, not quantity.

Perhaps one day we’ll all slow down.

Rebuilding America

My son made this.

It’s a 3D puzzle of the US Capitol that my wife brought him when she came home from the DC area after a trip last weekend.  He worked on it every day after school.

Considering he’s only 7 it’s pretty impressive.  Yes, she and I helped him with some of the really intricate, tiny parts.  Still, he did most of the work.

I’m quite impressed.

Now I’m just waiting for him to run for president.  If he can build all this by himself, imagine how well he could deal with the real Congress.

Keeping Score

My daughter…  Gotta’ love her.  Well, I gotta’ love her anyway.  But if you knew her, you’d adore her almost as much as me.  Let me explain.

Let me first explain the special bond we share.

I was at a friend’s house for dinner earlier.  He has two little boys but no girls.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love having a son.  If I didn’t have my boy, who else would get my craziness?  Who else would I have as an ally when the women of the house align against us.  No, it’s awesome being a dad to a son.  Even though I know I have a heavy responsibility in just teaching him how to be a man when I’m not sure I’ve got that down myself; I love bonding with him.  We understand each other in a way that no other two people can.  And yeah, there’s something awesome knowing that I had a part in creating this little person who will perhaps one day pass on my genes, who will carry forth a strength I didn’t know I had, who will be for another a physical sign of God’s paternity.  Wow.

But my daughter is something else.  She and I were destined to be bonded from the day she was born on my birthday…  at the same exact time of day as me.  That’s spooky.  But true.  There’s something tender and beautiful about having a daughter when you’re a guy.  They soften you.  They make you realize how powerful you are by their daintiness.  They force you to realize that what brute force you have was put into you by God for the express purpose of taking care of them.  You get to be for them the perfect man, the image of the man they want to marry.  And more than that, you get to be superman for them.  You don’t even have to do anything special.  You’re automatically their hero.  I’ve never been anyone’s hero so it’s kind of awesome.

I love noticing all the quirks my kids have.  While I am extraordinarily proud of my son for going out for the local basketball league and sticking with it despite lack of decent coaching and an uncertainty of how to play the game I have to mention something about his sister and her cheering him on.

Yesterday was his last game, or so we thought.  It was a playoff game in the morning.  He’s 7.  What kind of playoffs do you have exactly.  We went to the game assuming something.  Since they had only one two games in the regular season they couldn’t possibly do that well in the playoffs.  Don’t misunderstand me.  Of course I want my son to win.  It’s just that winning that game would mean we’d all have to be back at 5PM for the second round.  And really, 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon kind of breaks up the day now doesn’t it?  To our great surprise they won.  Rats.

So we all returned to the YMCA at 5.  “Honey,” I asked my wife, “isn’t that other team the kids who beat them last time 44-4?”  “Sure is,” she replied.  OK.  A quick four quarters and we’re done for the season.

What was funny though was how my daughter and I got into supporting the little guy.  “Daddy,” she asked, “are they going to win?”  I knew they likely would not but didn’t want to dampen her sense of hope.  “Probably not sweetheart,” I said.  Oh, I guess I did just that.  “Seriously, little lady,” I said, “your brother is having fun right now.  That’s what matters.  Maybe we should have some fun too!”  And that’s when I taught her the wave.

OK, so we were the only two people in the stands doing the wave but it was so funny.  She laughed every time I jumped up with my arms in the air and then she’d do the same thing.  We also got on the floor and did a dance for her brother.  I’m sure he was mortified.

In the end, I think she learned more from me about basketball than he did.  Except about the score.  There are some things even a dad can’t help with…

“The other team,” she said, “has either 22 or 55 points.”

That’s right little girl.  Sometimes digital numbers confuse Daddy too.

Dear Daughter, Don’t Ever Change.

My dear baby girl, my precious daughter, I have a request for you.  Please, don’t ever, EVER change on me.

Oh I know it’s inevitable and you’re going to grow up.  But that’s not what I mean.  You did something today that just made me realize how beautiful you are, how blessed I am, and how wonderful God is.  It’s the kind of thing that a father takes note of and files in his brain in the “cherish” department.  It was just a moment between us.  No one else was around.  It speaks of your personality in all its glory.  It speaks, I guess, a little about how we’re raising you.

But most of all, it speaks of that tender and private bond that a daddy shares with his little girl.

Private, that is, until I blog about it.  Oh well.  Sue me.

What’d you do?

I was in the middle of watching the Superbowl.  You were not.

You had gone into my bedroom to watch a movie.  At least that’s what I thought you were doing.

Getting up for a quick bathroom break, I stumbled into my bedroom to see the most adorable thing.

You, dear one, were sitting on my bed, fully be-decked in a princess dress, sprawled across the foot of the bed, crayons in hand, scribbling on a piece of paper.

You looked up as if to see who was interrupting your artistic endeavor.

I glanced at you to realize that you had so much make-up on your face you looked like a raccoon.

And then… we both burst out laughing.

I think in that moment we just knew that something funny and special was taking place.  You see, sweetheart, you aren’t very good at applying make up.  Then again, you’re only six.  I give you lots of credit for trying though.  However, Daddy thinks you’re beautiful and don’t need make up.  But I have no problem with it.  If you could only have seen your face.  I guess you didn’t have to since you saw mine and my reaction.

The drawing?  You were making a card for your teacher.  It was beautiful, like you.  It was also thoughtful.  She hadn’t been your teacher until after Christmas and you wanted to make sure she got a Christmas card so you had drawn a tree.  You asked me to write the lyrics to “O Tannenbaum” on the back, which I did.

And then I gave the prettiest little girl in the world a big kiss.  Fortunately, your make up didn’t smear.

I hope when you get older you’re just as thoughtful, just as sweet, just as beautiful, and just as funny.

Sweetheart, don’t ever change.  Daddy loves you just the way you are.